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Successful Pioneer Days

Victoria Kemper, Democrat News
Maddi Stephens puts smiles on little faces during Pioneer Days as she mans the face painting station during Pioneer Days. Indie Cook, 6, Isla Cook, 3, and Weston Snider, 6, make some great choices as they take turns.

The annual Pioneer Days festival in Marquand went on without a hitch last weekend, with a few notable changes which attracted attention and comments from the community.

“Every year, Pioneer Days comes and I get to see everyone in the community having a great time,” event organizer Amanda Gwinn said. “The smiles, and being able to come together as a community to support our school, churches and local businesses makes me proud to be a part of it all.”

Gwinn said she thinks the event had a very successful crowd and turnout this year saying “it was a gorgeous day which always helps.”

One of the significant changes this year was the relocation of the car show to the school parking lot. 

“This year the car show was moved to try to open up more parking for our attendees and to have less congestion around the park,” Gwinn said. “As our show grows each year, so does the amount of space that we need.”

Victoria Kemper, Democrat News
Jolene Karn, 5, has her hair temporarily colored green by Maddy Mathes with 1 Sixteen Beauty & Barber during Pioneer Days, Saturday.

Regarding the possibility of continued changes in the event’s layout, Gwinn said, as Pioneer Days grows with more vendors and attractions, space has become an issue.

“As we try to grow the festival with more vendors and attractions, unfortunately space has become an issue for our little town,” Gwinn said. “This is definitely something we will have to re-evaluate. I feel that there were a lot of people disappointed that it wasn’t in its normal spot this year.”

Despite these adjustments, Pioneer Days remains a beloved tradition for the community. When asked about her favorite part of this year’s festivities, Gwinn recalled the horse and carriage rides, the Just Enough Band, and as always the food.

Other activities and attractions included horseshoe and cornhole tournaments, balloon animal artistry, bounce houses, hair braiding, tinsel, and a variety of handmade crafts.

Victoria Kemper, Democrat News
A crowd gathers in the shade surrounding the stage as the “Just Enough Band” plays some country favorites.

“Pioneer Days provides a diverse range of entertainment for everyone to enjoy,” Gwinn said. “The variety of activities and attractions ensures that there’s something for everyone.”

This year’s event continued to emphasize the importance of preserving and celebrating local history. The historic Henry & Jane (Bess) Sitzes Log Homestead along with the Historical Museum were open for attendees to learn more about the historic heritage of Marquand. 

Gwinn said, Pioneer Days gives people an opportunity to walk through the historical cabin and museum, giving them an opportunity to learn some of the history of the town. 

“Someone told me yesterday it had been 20 years since they were last in Marquand, and though the town has changed a bit, the small-town feel and sense of community are the same,” Gwinn said. “This makes me happy that I can be a part of a community like this.”

Victoria Kemper, Democrat News
Owen Barrett, 2, is excited to play with his new car he found at the All Star Speedway booth.

With the picture-perfect weather contributing to the festival’s success, Gwinn expressed her gratitude to everyone involved. 

“I would like to thank every single person who works so hard to make Pioneer Days successful,” Gwinn said. “We have a lot of people behind the scenes that we couldn’t do this without. Our school, churches, local businesses, as well as my family and husband for always helping and putting up with the chaos I put them through each year. I would also like to thank everyone who was able to come to the event and help support our community and vendors.”

Gwinn extended her appreciation to the sponsors of this year’s Pioneer Days, which included: Black River Electric Cooperative, Big Creek Baptist Church, EZ Livin’ Express, SYG Transport, Ryno’s Construction, New Era Bank and Lee Insurance Agency.

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